Emerging, Emergent, House…Huh?

church-blogThere is a growing conversation in our society regarding the church in terms of what it should look like with respect to our changing culture. This conversation has included differing ideas which have come to be identified by the terms “the emerging church”, “the emergent church”, “house churches”, etc. To someone unfamiliar with the conversation the terms are confusing. But the questions that each wrestles with are questions that we should all wrestle with so I’ve posted some videos below that I hope spurs a healthy discussion. My only request is that your comments be respectful and helpful. After all, we’re “members one of another.” So, watch and share what you think!

The speaker in the videos is a pastor in Seattle, Washington of a church named Mars Hill. His name is Mark Driscoll and his experience gives him valuable insight to the conversation.

The second video expands on the ideas hinted in the first video.

5 Comments On “Emerging, Emergent, House…Huh?”

  1. Carter,

    Ever since I first heard of this phenomenon it has intrigued me. Thanks for clearing things up a bit. I have read the book he mentioned with the four points of view and it is often hard to distinguish between them. I know where I stand so I don’t feel threatened or questioning.
    I would make one comment about homosexuals being Christians though and that is if they are not practicing and don’t intend to be active in the lifestyle but choose, and by choose I mean are called (elected) to follow Christ, in a Christian community instead, they are Christians. Much like what you preached on Sunday.


  2. Helpful information. I have been using the terms interchangeably and too generally. It is difficult to pin down.

    Really appreciate his comments regarding viewing our lives as missionary in our secular culture. Interesting. Correct.

    Appears to be a movement that will (hopefully) impact the church positively.


  3. Thank you Carter for helping clear things up. I definately see Cornerstone in the Emerging Reformers lane. I like how he describes that group as “missional”. I think the Emergent Liberal church is concerning, and that is the group Jonathan was alluding to in Sunday School. It’s ok to do church differently to reach different people groups, but it is not ok to mess with the essentials.


  4. I explored this movement before we returned to the US because someone in Almaty recommended “Blue Like Jazz.” I read it and one other book by the same author and I just didn’t get it. Too deep for me. And not well written, either. One was autobiograpical musings attempting to be profound. I also read a couple of books against the emerging church. They were addressing the “fourth lane” mentioned above, although they didn’t refer to the other three lanes. All were negative and the authors maintained that emerging church movements were abandoning the fundamental doctrines or “minimizing” (hiding???) them so that people would not be negatively impacted and fail to join the fellowship. In Kazakhstan we us the term “emerging church” and I wanted to understand how that related to the US term. Not at all. I think we need to be a compassionate rubber-meets-the-road church that steps beyond the confines of traditional methodology and ritual but still maintains and uplifts the esssentials of the faith to glorify God and make Him known.


  5. If the more charismatic, culturally relevant emergent church can bring otherwise lost or disillusioned individuals back to God’s church…is it such a bad thing? Is it prideful or questioning God’s sovereignty to not believe God could use these other churches for His glory? Is it wrong to create an “appealing façade” to draw in the crowds? If we truly believe God is sovereign, he will help his chosen “elect” discern what is the truth and will quench their spiritual thirst for truth, regardless of the organized church he or she walks into. The word used in the New Testament for “church” is the Greek word ekklesia which literally means a “gathering” or an “assembly” of believers. It is the means and the vehicle that God has chosen to fill all things with the glory and preeminence of His Son. The saints gather together in order to manifest Christ and to encourage and build one another up in Him. Each member manifests a measure of Christ thus bringing fullness to His Body. (Eph. 4:13, 16) Jesus said in Matthew 18:20 that “where two or three are gathered together in His name, He is in their midst.” This could take place anywhere: in a home, on a boat, in a park, and yes, even in a “church” building. When two or three (or more) saints gather and sing together, or pray together, or support one another then they have fulfilled the New Testament meaning of ekklesia. In other words, God’s true Assembly is not a building, but a people. Going to church is done once or twice a week. Being the Church is a daily lifestyle. Intimate fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ is very important to God. When I refer to the term “organized church”, I am referring to that system of denominationalism that says “worship must be conducted in this manner” or “you must believe this particular way.” And while churches won’t actually say it, most believe that their way of worship or their belief system is the best. I do reject this spirit, unless it contradicts the Gospel message.
    Has Christ lost the preeminence in His own Assembly, and just like the early church of Ephesus, has the modern church lost its first love? (Rev. 2:4) What (or whom) has replaced Him? Well, activities, for one; ministries for another; and even gifted men have “replaced” Christ. We are so busy “for” Christ that we have forgotten that to “be with” Christ is the better thing. Remember the story of Mary and Martha? Have we have made our church organizations and ministries and our activities into little idols? If you doubt what I am saying, simply read the newspaper advertisements for our churches or look at the church bulletin. Most churches try to draw people by boasting of all the activities and ministries that are made available—ministries for the children, ministries for the young adults, and ministries for the married (like a “Sex Rocks” sermon series). There are activities going on all the time. Are we so bored with real intimacy with each other that we have to look for alternatives to fill our time? Have churches lost their biblical relationship to Christ in exchange for the promotion of the institution? I am rambling now, however…the thoughts are interchangeable. In Him, Kathy


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